When a yogi moves in next door, Emily learns enough to help him when he gets stuck.
Emily wonders why her new neighbor, Albert, “twist[s] himself into all kinds of strange positions on his front lawn.” He tells her about yoga and the mantra “om,” explaining, “It’s a magic word that everything understands….It helps me feel quiet and relaxed.” Emily tries it for herself but doesn’t fully realize its power until she helps Albert when he gets “stuck.” While this could be read figuratively, illustrations show Albert as literally “all twisted up,” with his legs and arms like twisted taffy and sweat beads on his face. This seems to poke fun, as does the “Dude! You’re totally stuck!” offered by a passing lifeguard. He and others try to help and struggle to figure out what Albert means when he moans “O…!” Nothing helps—not the phone suggested by the lifeguard, the garden gnome a police officer brings nor the poem of the librarian. There’s an odd dissonance in the humor—Albert seems to be genuinely suffering, and the others’ buffoonery, however well-intentioned, seems ill-placed. Once Emily steps in and says, “Ommmmmm,” Albert relaxes, and his arms and legs come “unstuck.” This inspires everyone to say “om” and use relaxation and yoga when they get stuck—figuratively or otherwise.
A regrettably awkward introduction to yoga. (Picture book. 3-5)